Your guide to the November midterm election in New York

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(Vaughn Golden/WSKG)

(WSHU) – This November, voters across the U.S. will participate in the midterm election. New Yorkers will have a chance to vote in contests for state executive offices, the U.S. House and Senate, the state Legislature, and more. We’ve answered some key questions about the elections below.

Am I eligible to vote in this election?

As long as you’re registered to vote in New York, you will be able to vote. To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen 18 or older and a resident of New York and live in the municipality in which you’ll be voting for at least 30 days.

You cannot register to vote in New York if you are in prison for a felony conviction, if you’ve been adjudged mentally incompetent by a court, or if you are claiming the right to vote in another state.

If I’m not registered to vote, can I still register in time for the election?

Yes. To register in time for this election, you need to do so in-person by Oct. 14 or, if by mail, postmarked by Oct. 14 and received by Oct. 19. If you have a DMV-issued New York driver’s license or ID, you can also register online here. Similarly, change of address forms must have been received by Oct. 19 to affect your voter information by Election Day. You can check your registration status here.

When and where can I vote?

Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., and you can find your local polling place here. You will still be allowed to vote after these hours if you are in line at a polling place by 9 p.m.

Can I vote early?

Yes. The in-person early voting period runs from Saturday, Oct. 29 to Sunday, Nov. 6. Unlike on Election Day, you are free to pick from a variety of early voting poll sites, which you can see here. This makes early voting a more accessible option if you are far from your registered address. Hours may vary by the polling site and the day you choose to vote.

Who’s on the ballot?

Democratic incumbent Kathy Hochul is running against Republican Long Island Rep. Lee Zeldin, as well as Libertarian Larry Sharpe and Alex Zapesochny, of the moderate Unite Party, for governor. For lieutenant governor, Democrat incumbent Antonio Delgado — Hochul’s running mate — faces challenges from former NYPD deputy inspector Alison Esposito, Andrew Hollister and Robin Dalton. Other Democrats in state offices, including Attorney General Letitia James and Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, are also facing Republican challengers.

In the U.S. Senate, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is running against former Newsmax host Joe Pinion. In the House, vacancies left by Zeldin (R-NY) and former gubernatorial candidate Tom Suozzi (D-NY) have created competitive races in districts 1 and 3.

Also on the ballot is a measure first proposed by former Governor Andrew Cuomo, which would approve $4.20 billion in borrowing for climate change mitigation and resource preservation projects — the Environmental Bond Act.

Be sure to use Ballotpedia’s lookup tool to see the races that will be on your ballot.

Can I vote via an absentee ballot?

According to New York’s Board of Elections, you can apply to vote absentee if:

  • You are absent from your county or, if a resident of New York City, absent from the five boroughs, on Election Day
  • You are unable to appear at the polls due to temporary or permanent illness or disability (temporary illness includes being unable to appear due to risk of contracting or spreading a communicable disease like COVID-19)
  • You are unable to appear because you are the primary caregiver of someone who is ill or physically disabled
  • You are a resident or patient of a Veterans Health Administration Hospital
  • You are in jail or prison for any reason other than a felony conviction (this includes anyone who is awaiting grand jury action, awaiting trial, or serving a sentence for a misdemeanor)

You can apply online for an absentee ballot here. You can also submit an application in person at your local county board of elections, which you can locate here, by Monday, Nov. 7, the day before Election Day.

You will be able to mail in your absentee ballot or deliver it to a polling site or your local Board of Elections office until polls close at 9 p.m. on Nov. 8. You can also deliver it to an early voting site during the 6-day early voting period from Oct. 29 to Nov. 6. If you choose to mail in your ballot, the USPS recommends doing so 7 days before Election Day in order to give it enough time to reach your Board of Elections. You can track the status of your ballot here.

If you have already applied for an absentee ballot and wish to vote in-person instead, you must fill out an affidavit ballot, which will only be counted once election officials determine you have not sent in your absentee ballot.

If your absentee ballot is found to have a curable error — if it is not properly signed or packaged in the included affirmation envelope, for instance — your local board of elections is legally required to notify you and allow you to submit a cure affirmation within 7 days of notification so that your ballot is still counted.

Do I need an ID to vote?

Unless this is your first time voting in a federal election, you do not need to present an ID when checking in at your polling place. If this is your first federal election and you didn’t provide identification (your driver’s license or state ID number, the last four digits of your social security number, or an application for a state-assigned number) when you registered to vote, you will need a photo ID or an identifying document like a copy of a utility bill or a bank statement. If you don’t bring identification, you can still fill out an affidavit ballot.

What do I do if my voting rights are challenged at the polls?

If your right to vote is questioned at a polling site, you are permitted to take challenge and qualification oaths to affirm your eligibility to vote. You also have the right to fill out a provisional ballot if you are challenged by election officials, which will be counted once your eligibility is reviewed.

If you believe your rights are being violated at a polling place, you can contact New York’s election protection hotline at 866-390-2992, election.hotline@ag.ny.gov, or via this online form.

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